No pressure to play loans - Roeder

David Cuffley City manager Glenn Roeder last night defended his policy of playing loan signings - and insisted he always picked the best team for the job.

David Cuffley

City manager Glenn Roeder last night defended his policy of playing loan signings - and insisted he always picked the best team for the job.

Roeder, facing an audience of about 150 at a fans' forum at Carrow Road, was adamant he had been under no pressure from Premiership managers to play any of his loan contingent, which was reduced from six to five yesterday by the return of 18-year-old winger James Henry to Reading.

Asked by one fan whether he had “tinkered too much” with his team selection after the Canaries' 13-match unbeaten run, he said:

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“No. I pick every team with the view that that's the team I think will win.

“I wouldn't care whether it's a loan signing. I'd have 11 loans if it meant winning. It doesn't bother me. We are in a hole. And we have to get out of this hole. It doesn't matter how we get out of it. If we could get out of it with 11 loans, I'd play 11 loans.

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“Every player is played purely on merit.”

Roeder, who answered questions for more than one hour at the Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association forum, said there had been no pressure from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to play Kieran Gibbs, or from Chelsea sporting director Frank Arnesen to pick Ryan Bertrand.

He lost one of his six temporary recruits yesterday when Henry's loan deal was brought to a premature end after he made just three first team appearances.

Reading were concerned over Henry's lack of games since arriving at Carrow Road in January. He had been due to stay with City until April 28.

Said Roeder: “We've lost James Henry, unfortunately. He's an 18-year-old. He will be a player, it didn't happen for him here. I didn't play him. Reading wanted him back. I understand that. If I'd have been Steve (Coppell) I'd have asked for him back.”

England Under-19 international Henry, who last featured as a late substitute in City's 1-0 win over Barnsley on February 23, recently signed a new contract with the Royals, tying him to the club until 2010 - and is likely to be involved in Reading's reserve game at West Ham tonight.

Roeder, meanwhile, said he was confident the board would back his rebuilding plans in the summer.

“I haven't seen anything or heard anything to be majorly worried about bringing in new players in the summer, which we undoubtedly have to,” he said.

“It is not going to be one, two, three or four - we are in a major process of a natural clear-out. So there is going to be a big turnaround. In January we could have bought (Martin) Taylor because we made a very fair offer and the board backed me all the way and made sure there was money available - salary as well, which was quite expensive in Championship terms.

“So the board haven't done anything to worry me at the moment where I am thinking they are not going to allow me to bring in players next year.

“Any club that has got to turn around at least 12 players and maybe more is going to find it very difficult, whoever you are, to buy all your own players in one go, so I do see next year as part building in terms of our own new players and using friends I have in the Premiership to loan us players of high quality, which they have done so far.

“I think that the board will do everything they can. And with a combination of our own players on contracts and hitting the loan market again, we will probably have to do this in two stages, over the period of the next two seasons. And although I have taught myself it is best to be an unrealistic person, sometimes you have to be realistic and this is the time to be realistic.”

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